Yeah, in addition to the very real consequences of decades of the Big Lie from right-wing media, which in many ways simply continued the age-old tradition of divide and conquer that worked so well to keep poor Americans from uniting and realizing their common circumstances, and hence to opposing the elites, you have to lay the smack down on the Democratic party, which went from a coalition that united precisely those working Americans in the heartland with elite progressive technocrats in the cities to an insular, arrogant cabal of just the technical intelligentisia that believed things like globalization, demographic change, and shifting social mores were inevitable (this was correct) and hence there was no need for the party to reach out and mitigate the impact of these shifts on the people least able or willing to accept them (this was a fatal flaw). Hence, what I always said about Clinton; her biggest flaw was her hubris. Not so much just personal, but as a representation of the collective arrogance of the Democratic elite.
Look at the blue part of the map. It’s the periphery, made up of the educated, successful, worldly, and secular, people who have by and large benefited from or at the very least made their peace with all of the forces of the modern or post-modern world. It’s about half the population of the country. The rest of the nation, the red parts, are in the heartland, the “fly-over country.” That very moniker speaks volumes. These are the folks the Dems basically shafted, in a different but no less thorough way than the GOP. The GOP exploited them as a low-wage labor source, a tool to support rampant development and profit taking, and an army of angry people motivated by social issues but used for the economic benefit of a very few. The Dems simply ignored them, and in the process, often humiliated, dismissed, and mocked them. No one bothered to try to help folks figure out how to reconcile the inevitable (and I believe just and good) changes in the social landscape, as we become a more diverse society and begin to recognize the necessity to let ancient frameworks on things like gender identity slip away. The Dems simply said, “this is what the future is, deal with it.” The GOP made sure there was no funding for education or training or any way out of the muck, because the last thing they wanted was an educated, informed, and economically successful mid-America, as that would inevitably erode any support for their very post-Eisenhower Republicanism. The Dems again blamed the victim.
The real problem we face is not what Trump will do, it’s what we as a country will do. How can we reconcile two halves of a nation that are so much at odds? Are we at an 1860 point, with the liberal intelligentsia ironically reprising the roles of the slave-holding South? Or are we on the brink of demographic and economic shifts that will help us resolve the crisis peacefully? There’s virtually zero Trump can do to make good his promises to the heartland. There is no way to turn back globalization, no way to single-handedly redo trade deals, no way to wave a wand and defeat terrorism. So the people who put him in office, too, are in store for a rude awaking down the road. The only people who are going to “win” are the mendacious rich who will try to turn Trump into our century’s version of Warren G. Harding.
Again ironically, universal health care, guaranteed basic income, state-supported higher education, and government investment in infrastructure–all things the GOP and mainstream Dems have opposed–would be exactly the ticket to work us out of this crisis…